After hanging out and having too many cocktails with our friend Charlie on Friday night, I hurried down for the 10am ride on Saturday. Several fellow NCVCers and assorted other good riders were out, but it was still a relatively small group of about 25 maybe. The pace was great out to Tuckerman, all the way to Falls. Had a really good chat with Judd from Bike Doctor, who works in development and is working on some neat stuff, and then someone lit the fireworks as soon as we turned onto Glen Road. Judd and I were nearly lost off the back but chased like bastards and got on for the hills. The hills weren't too bad, but with Sunday's planned ride I didn't want to blow my entire wad, stuck with the group through Travilah and then waited for some others to take the Esworthy short cut in. By that point it had gotten freaking hot, nasty, can't breath ridiculous hot. Time to get home hot. A good ride, though.
My luck with movies is all bad. Since it was hot and nasty and likely to storm, we decided to go see The Bourne Ultimatum. Of course it was sold out so we had some huge beers and pizza at Lia's with Leah. No relation.
Sunday was THE MARSHALL RIDE with some guys from the elite team. I knew it was going to be long, I knew it was going to be vertical, and I knew it was going to be hot. Claims were afoot that the pace would be nice and slow, but as I didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday my skepticism was intact.
The town isn't much, but the 7-11 is well stocked with the finest in cold Gatorade flavors. Drew W almost shut the place down with his morning constitutional. Good work, dude. It's freaking beautiful out there. Nicer than Middleburg, once you get out into the country. More trees and the horse farms are cooler. The house with the private landing pad isn't too shabby either.
The first climb came up kind of without warning. I think it's called Blue Mountain? Whatever it is, it's freaking long. Like 20 minutes. Pete told everyone to bring a 25 cog. Next time I'll listen. Dumb ass. I didn't suffer too badly without, and managed to stay in the mix the whole way up. Then we rode for a long time, Greg almost killed himself at 3mph, we rode alongside a river and things were lovely.
And then the next hill came. "When you've been climbing for a while, you'll think it's got to be over soon. Then you hit the unpaved section and you're about halfway up." ALL RIGHT!!! Well they weren't lying that time. My plan was to keep my effort completely level, try to do the whole thing at right about threshold, and screw what everyone else was doing. Good plan. The Swede, Paul and Chris went up the road while Drew and I stayed mostly together right in front of the rest. Sure enough, just when I was thinking "will this ever end," the pavement ended. I was keeping the leading three in sight. Drew was starting to come and go a bit, but my plan was working really well. My HR (PowerTap not yet arrived, or else surely there would be a fancy chart here) was within like plus or minus 2 beats the whole time and I was totally comfortable. Well, not totally comfortable, but it wasn't bad at all. When I got to the top, the Swede informed me that I was only 1:30 behind him for the climb. After 55 miles of riding and 25 straight minutes of climbing, that's fine with me. The downhill that ensued was seriously fun, although my top speed did not stack up well against others.